This article is part of a series on breaking up, separation and, if you are married - divorce. All together they make up a complete break up survival guide.
I know only too well, from personal as well as professional experience, how painful breaking up can be. So I want to be sure I cover the subject from all angles to help you as best as I can.
On top of the agony of the break-up itself you may worry about about the future - how long it will take to get over the pain, maybe moving home, your finances, how your children will fare and childcare, the divorce process, etc. Depending on your situation you may have to deal with all of these things, just when you're heartbroken.
It may feel like your legs have been cut from beneath you. That is - if you're the one being rejected. Or if you have been so hurt by you're partner that you see no other option but to end the relationship.
So, if your emotions are all over the place, I can tell you now that you're normal! It's perfectly understandable if you can't stop crying, are angry, disappointed, depressed and anxious and swing between all of these at any time of the day!
This article is for you if you want to leave the sadness behind as soon as you can...
There are definite do's and don'ts when you want to get over someone and leave all that's happened behind. Most of these are about taking control and meeting your essential emotional needs in balance.
There are probably two scenarios that got you here...
... you were told "it's over" this week
... you've already separated and you think you should be, or can't get over the breakup
In case of the former you need a little time to just 'be' and not do anything at all for another week or so (if at all possible). Definitely don't make any decisions about your future just yet.
If you have ended the relationship (you're likely to be further in the grieving process) or the break-up happened some time ago, here is what you can do to help yourself:
Remember that by taking control and doing something to deal with the pain of an ending you're always going to feel better.
However, I do appreciate that after all that you are left with a hole in your life for at least a while. And you know what? There's not much more you can do about that. It is what it is - a painful time in your life which you can only partly share with loved ones. In the end you're on your own.
I just want you to know that you will survive, getting over a breakup with all the losses that it entails is in fact a lonely business. There's often no one there when you're crying yourself to sleep at night.
The following are perfectly understandable early on, but will impede your recovery in the long run:
We have an emotionally laden TV programme here in the Netherlands, which tells the story of people who have loved, lost touch, but never been able to forget.
I know many of my clients had secret memories of lost or unrequited love lurking under the weight of their relationship problems. They were often comparing past, often idealised, partners with their present one. Sometimes their partner or spouse could never match up to the person they had once lost their heart to, but they 'made do'.
Reasons for not being able to forget someone?
In the programme many a story of a break-up covers several elements of these. Endings were caused by critical and even forbidding parents, letters not posted or love letters received not passed on. Break-ups were also caused death, illness, accidents, etc.
The common pattern is that people are often left with a hole in their experience and therefore their memory.
Interestingly, the person being sought doesn't even always remember the love-lorn searcher!
The answer about whether or not you can forget someone is to some extent determined by the strength of your feelings at the time. Also your gender has some impact on the memories - women, on the whole, tend to have a better memory for emotionally laden experiences.
In any case... the programme makes it clear why some these men and women had not been able to get over that break up. Their being able to see each other again and getting the opportunity to explain, perhaps apologise (some admit to having been mean!) is often very poignant. Their coming to terms and finally being able to leave it behind makes for compelling watching. Also, some took advantage of having a second chance and started to rebuild their relationship.
I wonder if you too are finding it difficult to let go, because of the kinds of events I have mentioned here.
You may never be able to get over a break-up - because of how you broke-up, or because you truly felt this was the love of your life and you've lost your soul-mate.
You won't know how it's going to be for you in the future until you're at least a year on from the ending. It also depends on the strength and the length of that relationship, your character and emotional make-up and previous, as well as future relationships.
That relationship and its ending becomes part of your life-story, with all your experiences - from the most glorious, to the totally mundane, the utterly boring to the frankly disastrous - all coming together like a colourful handwoven tapestry.
So rather than wanting to forget, take the attitude of wanting to preserve the beautiful, the interesting and the difficult times as a gift of experiencing and learning - of living a life.
You may or may not get over this break-up. I promise you though - you will move on and be able to accept it, with time - perhaps in a moment of clarity. You'll make that decision and ditch the torment and emotional turmoil. You'll give up on the alcohol, the shopping, the pills, the addictive trance states of any kind and the crying or whatever else you used to keep yourself going. Simply knowing this may help you get over this break up sooner rather than later.
You may not be ready for this at all, but there'll be a time when you're ready to move on and start dating again. You may find yourself looking online. Before you are tempted, and particularly because you may still be vulnerable - do have a look at my page on how you can protect yourself.
Right now, carry on reading the rest of my break up survival guide. See Related Articles at the end of this article.